Store-bought boxed cereals generally are not my first choice for a breakfast meal. I do, however, enjoy cereals like granola with lots of yummy dried fruits and nuts. Though it can be purchased premade in the stores (at a rather high price), I prefer to make my own. It does take some time to prepare and then cook in the oven, but I find it well worth the energy. I have made granola using a slow cooker and oven, and prefer the oven. Since the oven has to be on (low) for several hours, I recommend cooking your batch in the early morning or late evening during warmer months to try to conserve some energy. During the cooler months, leave the oven door open once finished to fill your home with the delicious aroma and give your heating unit a break. If you're using a slow cooker instead, then you would simply turn it on low and stir on occasion until done.
Since regularly making our own yogurt, I've begun to use some of the whey that is left from the process to soak the oats. It isn't a mandatory step by any means. It's just a way to use the whey and infuse a little more nutrition. You can certainly skip this step all together if you wish.
I typically make enough granola to have about two quart + a pint jars, which will last my husband and I about a month since we don't eat it every day. Beyond a quick cereal breakfast, we also enjoy it as a topping for yogurt parfait snacks.
2 c. old-fashioned oats
2 c. multi-grain hot cereal mix (4-Grain , 7 Grain, 10 Grain Hot Cereal etc)
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. water
1/4-3/4 c. whey (optional)
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. almond pieces/slices
1/4 c. pecan pieces
1/4 c. pumpkin (unsalted) seeds
1/4 c. dried mixed berries
1/4 c. raisins
1a. Optional soaking method: Mix oats and grains with butter, coconut oil, water and whey until all is moistened. Cover and place in refrigerator to soak for 12-24hours. Afterwards, stir together in a pot the honey, syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Simmer until thinned. Preheat oven to 200 °F.
1b. No soak method: Stir together all wet ingredients (oil, butter, water, honey, syrup, vanilla) and spices (salt & cinnamon) in a pot until honey is thinned. Preheat oven to 200 °F.
2. Add honey and oat mixtures. Spread onto two-three baking sheets.
3. Bake for approximately four hours. Stir granola around a bit halfway through. The oats will continue to crisp when cooling.
4. Add nuts, seeds, berries and raisins.
5. Store in sealed containers.
Adapted from: Passionate Homemaking
10 Granola Recipes
14 Ways to Use Granola
Gifting With Granola
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